Digital Menu Boards

Digital menu boards are a great way to provide your guests with clear information about the various dishes and drinks. But where exactly are the advantages, and how do they work? We summarized the most important facts for you here. Finally, we'll show you how to implement digital menu boards with our digital signage software.

What are Digital Menu Boards?

Digital menu boards are made up of several screens that display information about the food and drinks in a restaurant. Meanwhile, some fast-food restaurants are also experimenting with interactive menu boards for their guests, which allow them to choose and order menus on a touchscreen.

Digital Menu Boards

What are the Advantages of the Digital Menu Board for Hospitality Businesses?

Digital menu boards offer many advantages. It takes a lot less time to change the menu of the day and to advertise special offers. Furthermore, the digital menu board also integrates images, animations, and videos. The menu is presented in a more attractive manner, giving the guest a more authentic presentation of the products.

Planning and Design of Digital Menu Boards

Planning and designing digital menu boards is an interesting but challenging task. However, with the right tools, knowledge and an accurate vision of the final product, even beginners will be able to make digital menu boards themselves. There are several tools and templates that greatly simplify the process and produce compelling results even without in-depth design knowledge.

At the beginning of every design is the definition of the goal. What information should the menu board display, who is the target audience, and how can the design best reach them? The next step is to select the appropriate software.


A popular option for designing digital menu boards is, an online graphic design tool that offers both free and paid versions. It offers a simple drag-and-drop interface and a variety of templates, including “template menu boards”. You add and customize text, images, icons and many other elements as you like. You can even add videos and animations for even more engaging digital menu boards.

Adobe Spark is another platform to consider. It offers similar features to Canva, but has a focus on multimedia content. Here you can easily combine text, images and videos.

For those looking for a tool specifically geared towards digital menu boards, DSMenu is a good choice. DSMenu offers a wide range of digital menu boards templates tailored for different types of restaurants and cafés. You can add your own images and text, and also change prices and offers in real time.

The template system of SmilControl CMS also allows you to make digital menu boards yourself. You can learn more about it below.


When it comes to digital menu board design, the possibilities are almost endless. But it's important to keep the design clear and readable. Too much information or too flashy a design can confuse customers rather than help them. At the same time, the menu board should reflect the company's brand identity and blend seamlessly with the ambiance of the establishment.

In conclusion, digital menu board design and planning doesn't have to be an overwhelming task with the right tools and templates. With a little creativity and a clear vision of the desired end product, impressive results can be achieved.

9 Reasons for Digital Menu Boards

1. Easily Updatable Menu

The digital menu board allows you to keep your menu always up to date and inform your customers about new products and special offers. The updating process is seamless, and no additional personnel are required to replace signs.

2. Promotion of Seasonal Products

Many restaurants offer seasonal products. These products are often more fresh and have better quality. This is also the reason many guests like to go to restaurants that offer seasonal dishes.

The board shows the menu. Your guests will have the opportunity to find out in advance what you will be offering soon. If their favorite dish is on the menu, they can decide to make a reservation.

3. Legal Food Labeling

Using digital menu cards makes it easier to comply with nutritional information and allergen regulations. Making the most important information visible is a crucial factor.

4. More flexible content possible

Digital menu boards can play animations and videos. Moving images generate higher attention than static content.

5. Up and Cross-Selling

One additional advantage of the digital menu board is that it is easier to up-sell and cross-sell. The digital display allows you to easily offer different combinations of main dishes and drinks and adjust prices accordingly. Generate more sales by offering different options to your guests.

6. Image Building

A digital menu board is a modern and attractive way to represent your gastronomy business. It helps strengthen your brand and set your business apart from the competition.

Cook with wall mounted screen

7. Waiting Time reduction

A digital menu board can also inform and entertain your guests. In this way, you shorten the perceived waiting time in a fast-food restaurant until the kitchen prepares the food.

8. Time Control

A happy hour, for example, can also be time-controlled and scheduled in advance. The menu cards can be used to address different target groups at different times.

9. Connectivity

The most important point from our standpoint. A digital menu board fits seamlessly into any digitization concept. By interfacing with third-party manufacturers, marketing workflows at restaurant chains can be automated and optimized.

Is it Possible to Make the Content for Digital Menu Boards by yourself?

Of course! SmilControl as a software provider supports you in the implementation of your digital menu board, whether you want to create it manually, automated or even interactive. During the conceptual design of our software, all these cases were considered.

We split the content maintenance of the digital menu boards into 4 levels:

1. Basics

You, your employees, or an agency create images and videos with your offers. You upload these to our CMS and organize them into playlists. This is a standard functionality of modern digital signage, and any software should actually be able to handle it.

2. First Enhancement

An agency creates professional templates, with placeholders for our system. This is relatively simple with our template engine because it uses the standardized SVG format, which every graphics processing program can handle.

SmilControl-Template Editor
Menu example from our template editor

You or your employees use these templates and fill in the placeholders with text or change the images. In this way, you create professional-looking offers and change the menu board in a snap, without any design knowledge.

3. Automating

From here on, the industrial workflows begin. In this case, the placeholders from the templates are not filled in by humans, but automatically. The data comes from a feed or a database and reaches the associated template via APIs.

This brings huge advantages for restaurant chains. Franchisors generally operate in a centralized manner and control the digital menu boards of their franchisees worldwide. They, in turn, are allowed to integrate local offerings manually, depending on the arrangement.

Such a hierarchical workflow for time-limited content, as well as marketing, can be mapped with our CMS.

4. Interactivity

In the USA, some fast-food restaurants have started to install vending machines with interactive monitors recently. Customers put together their menu, pay for it, and pick it up when called. 2017, McDonald's in New York introduced the “Big Mac Vending Machine” as a marketing gimmick.

We can implement all this interactivity as well. This works with a technology called Digital Signage Widgets, which is fully supported by our software.

Our digital signage software was designed to be open and collaborative enough to handle future requirements and interfaces. Making digital menu boards yourself is actually just another use case.

As you can see, with the right tools and good planning, it is possible to make digital menu boards yourself and customize them to fit your restaurant's needs.

How can I introduce Digital Menu Boards into my business?

A digital menu board is usually composed of several monitors that are either connected to a small computer or have it integrated into the case. The devices, which are connected to the Internet, run player software.

There are many ways to integrate digital menu boards into your business. The best method depends on your requirements and preferences.

Take time to explore and compare the different options. There are many hardware vendors on the market, so you should make sure you make the right choice for your operation. We have previous experience in this area and are happy to help.

In a Restaurant or Café

Restaurants or cafés place digital menu boards in strategic locations, such as the entrance, at the counter or even in the queue. The screens display the current menu, daily specials and special promotions in real time. The flexibility of digital technology allows you to quickly update the menu to remove sold-out dishes or add new offerings. This results in smoother operations as staff spends less time fielding customer questions about menu options. Plus, integrating moving or changing images increases customer engagement.

In Fast Food Restaurants with Drive-throughs

Digital menu boards have long played an important role in fast-food restaurants with drive-through service. Placed at the ordering station, they make it easier for customers to select their order. With sensors or AI technology, the screens even display personalized offers based on the weather, time of day, or previous orders. In addition, you can use menu boards to upsell by promoting menu packages or special offers. Again, digital technology allows you to quickly adjust the offer, giving you the flexibility to respond to different business conditions.

In both cases, it is critical that the digital menu boards are integrated into the overall concept of the operation and reflect the brand identity. With the right tools and a well-thought-out strategy, you can improve the customer experience and increase the efficiency of your operation.

Installing and Management of Digital Menu Boards

Overall, installing and managing digital menu boards requires careful planning and ongoing maintenance to achieve their full impact. However, with the right strategy and tools, they can become a valuable addition to any restaurant or café.

Implementing and managing digital menu boards can be divided into three main areas: Installation and setup, content management and updates, and integration with Point-of-Sale (POS) systems and other technologies.

Installation and Setup of Digital Menu Boards

Installation begins with selecting the appropriate hardware. The size and number of screens depends on your specific requirements and the space available. You can choose between different types of screens such as LCD, LED, touchscreens and even outdoor screens for drive-throughs.

Once selected, the screens must be installed and connected to the Internet, usually via a secure WLAN. A software platform is then installed on the devices that allows the menu boards to be controlled and updated centrally. This can often be done via a web-based content management system (CMS) that can be accessed from any device with Internet access.

Content Management and Updating

Managing and updating content on menu boards is a crucial aspect of their effectiveness. As mentioned, the SmilControl CMS provides tools for creating and editing content, regularly in the form of drag-and-drop editors and pre-built templates.

You can add or remove menus, prices, photos, promotions, edit text and change the layout. This allows you to respond to changes in real time, such as changing the menu depending on the time of day or quickly updating prices and promotions.

Integration with POS Systems and Other Technologies

Integrating digital menu boards with a POS system significantly increases the efficiency and effectiveness of operations. When the menu board is synchronized with the POS system, prices and availabilities are automatically updated when they are changed in the POS system. This saves time and reduces the possibility of errors.

In addition to integrating with POS systems, digital menu boards can also be connected with other technologies. Combining them with sensors or AI technology allows personalized offers to be displayed based on the weather, time of day or even an individual customer's preferences.

To realize this, open formats and interfaces, so-called APIs, are necessary.

Our Offer

For Projects and Reseller:

We provide you with the necessary software for the operation of digital menu boards. We also have the necessary expertise to advise you on the purchase of hardware. Furthermore, we cooperate with various manufacturers, so it will not be a problem to find the optimal hardware for your project.

For End User with Full-Service Requirement:

SmilControl is a software company which provides technology. Our business model is based on partnerships. Meanwhile, we cooperate with some companies that provide digital signage services based on our software.

Our partners offer full service with technical support and on-site setup. Just contact us and we will be happy to direct you to the best partner for you.

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